The official news service of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church



25 May 2017 | St Albans, UK [Victor Hulbert] Probably no other Adventist evangelist understands the challenges of Europe better than Pastor Mark Finley. While having been involved in mega-campaigns across the world he has equally committed time into seeking ways forward to reach people in the secularised cultures of the west, including a significant two-year Mission to the Cities programme in Dublin Ireland.

Mark FinleyPastor Mark Finley: "...with God all things are possible."There was, therefore, surprise when, as an invited guest to Trans-European Division Spring Meetings on Monday, 22 May, Finley announced, “Church growth is impossible in a post-modern culture.” However, before the TED departmental directors and Union presidents fell off their chairs with shock, he quickly added, “but with God all things are possible.”

Finley compared the church board minutes of churches that succeed, with those that fail and noted that churches “immersed in the culture of difficulty” tend to whither, but that “if you focus on the positive,” then mission will happen. In Finley-style, he then gave very practical examples, inspiring Executive Committee members to emphasise mission, even on a day where the primary agenda items included financial reports and the auditors’ statement.

Nenad Jepuranovic Treasurey reportNenad Jepurnoavic, TED TreasurerNenad Jepuranovic, TED treasurer, was pleased to announce that tithe growth over the past two years hit 4.5 percent in economies that are generally weak at the moment, and where members are struggling. While some areas, such as the Baltic States, are challenged both financially and numerically, as many young people from all walks of life leave the country to seek better opportunities elsewhere, a country like Sweden is bucking the trend with an increased baptismal rate, and tithe growth of 17 percent.

In expenditure, Jepuranovic noted that two per cent of tithe goes to support Newbold College of Higher Education. In reflections from the college board the previous day, TED president, Raafat Kamal, reinforced the importance of the college both in terms of ministerial training and as a centre of excellence for a variety of learning experiences, including the recently introduced MA in leadership. “We need to develop strong and creative leaders across Europe,” he stated, “and with the academic excellence being shown at Newbold there is no better place to do it.”

Raafat Kamal TED spring meetings1Raafat Kamal, TED PresidentKamal was referring not just to the positive Adventist accreditation of the college, but to the excellent report released recently by the British Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. He noted that the college is also becoming a centre of excellence for short-term courses and a significant conference venue.

Following acceptance of the auditors’ report Jepuranovic also noted the careful money management at the TED with the 23 per cent on employee expense, including staff travel, being among the lowest in the world, despite being in a high-cost area.

Having established a secure financial footing, the day then moved onto the ‘how’ as various directors shared plans to help enhance mission in their areas of expertise, such as the TED publishing department approving US$41,000 for translation of key Ellen White books, including the first-time publication of the Great Controversy in Albanian, and the Ministry of Healing being made available in Lithuanian, where health ministry is an increasingly significant part of their outreach strategy.

Zlatko Musija TED SMZlatko Musija, TED Youth directorZlatko Musija, Youth director, rejoiced in the 3,000 youth who will be attending the Pan-European Youth Congress in Spain this summer – while noting that there is still space for more. “Encourage your youth, their parents, their pastors and churches,” he said. “This is a life-changing experience.” With only a few days to go until registration closes, various leaders expressed the difference that such a congress had made in their own lives.

Alastair Agbaje, Teen Ministries director and Newbold chaplain agreed, while fervently extolling the real benefits of youth involvement in Global Youth Day and similar programmes. ‘Fervour’ is actually a good word to describe each of the departmental presentations; directors highlighting just one or two aspects of their work that they feel passionate about, and that are making a difference.

Daniel Duda TED SMDaniel Duda, TED Adventist Mission directorPeter-Bo Bohson shared the wow-factor of this year’s Master Guide camp and next year’s camporee. Clair Sanches expounded on the ‘Girls for Christ’ mentoring programme – getting the expected reaction, that we need something similar designed for boys. Daniel Duda shared how mission seed money is allowing for innovative projects such as a basket-ball club in Latvia or a ‘3 angels motorbike club’ in Serbia. 

“Your Union may not fund a project because you think it may fail,” he said. “But we are willing to fund creative/innovative experiments. Take a risk and some of them will work and can be copied elsewhere!” Finley agreed, “If you don’t have permission to fail, you’ll never have permission to succeed.”

Daid Neal TED SMDavid Neal, recently appointed TED Stewardship director.David Neal, recently appointed Stewardship director is bouncing with enthusiasm on the subject. His opening gambit, “It’s all about the money,” raised some eyebrows, but he carefully explained that “it’s also about our identity, about growing faithful members and ministerial excellence.” While we look at stewardship and often think that is ‘just the money’, in reality, it is a lifestyle of service to, and relationship with, God.

Family ministries, Ministerial, Communication, Campus Ministries, and Health Ministries all got their turn. The committee voted to help Patrick Johnson, who currently serves as Ministerial Association Secretary plus another six hats including Sabbath School, Prayer Ministries and Disability Ministries, by combining the six under the active label, ‘Discipleship ministries’. 

TED Spring MeetingsSharing feedback from committee members afterward, Kamal told staff, “you modelled good leadership and exhibited credible, relevant visions and ideas that serve our fields.”

Wim Altink, Reidar Kvinge and Göran Hansen, three outgoing Union presidents for whom this will be their last Executive Committee, all expressed how networking with the TED was like being in a large family. As that family returned home to develop further strategies, plans and mission, the TED team is determined to take Pastor Finley’s words seriously: In the ‘impossible’ Mission Field of Europe, with God, all things are possible. [tedNEWS]

tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Esti Pujic, associate editor
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Website: www.ted.adventist.org
tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.